(KSLA) - The start of 2021 is just hours away, but as COVID-19 cases continue to rise at worrisome rates following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — medical leaders are urging safety as the new year arrives.
On Wednesday, Dec. 30, Louisiana added 6,754 new cases of the coronavirus, the largest single-day increase in the state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued New Year’s Eve guidance ahead of celebrations to encourage revelers to enjoy the evening responsibly. Here are the agency’s tips:
- Celebrate at home with the people you live with
- Consider postponing or canceling travel plans to reduce exposure
- If you do travel, check local and state COVID-19 guidance and restrictions
- Host a virtual gathering or celebration with friends and family
- Stay at least six feet apart from others you do not live with
- Wear a mask around others, especially those outside your home
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces
- Wash your hands after spending time in a public space
- Stay home if you feel ill
Dr. Cara Permenter, a family medicine physician at CHRISTUS Primary Care Partners - Shreveport Bossier said though this guidance has been repeated, there is hope on the horizon.
“We’re hopefully coming towards the end of all of this... I know doctor’s offices are making changes and plans for how we’re going to get this vaccine and how we’ll house it and distribute it,” Permenter said. “Just stay optimistic that this is coming to a close very soon.”
The new CDC guidance comes as Louisiana’s hospitalization rate remains strikingly high. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 1,717 patients are in hospitals across the state, which is the second-highest number of people hospitalized behind Louisiana’s first spike in COVID cases last spring.
In all, 7,448 people have lost their lives to the virus and 210 remain on ventilators on Thursday morning.
“People still need to be vigilant, wear their masks and social distance,” Permenter added. “The biggest thing with the holiday is avoiding crowds and making travel plans that aren’t going to increase your exposure.”
Meanwhile, Governor John Bel Edwards is scheduled to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. to give an update on the state’s vaccination efforts.